Program Announcement: Rugby Canada Development Academy

October 28, 2020



28 October 2020

Whitby, ON – Rugby Ontario, in partnership with Rugby Canada, are pleased to announce the expansion of the Rugby Canada Development Academy (RCDA) for the 2020-2021 program. Starting this year, the RCDA will operate in three regional centres to provided targeted athletes with access to strength and conditioning and technical/tactical training. These three regional centres will operate out of the University of Guelph (West), the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario – Scarborough (Central), CAN AM Strength Conditioning (East) and provide athletes weekly touch points with provincial and national team coaches.  

The Rugby Canada Development Academy is a joint partnership between Rugby Canada, Rugby Ontario, and the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario. The goal of the academy is to provide Ontario based players with a clear pathway and support to play for the national age grade/ women’s teams. Expansion into this regional model will provide support for more athletes than ever before. “The RDCA continues to build momentum by increasing our player pool into three regional centres across the provinces through the addition of the Ontario East training group” said Sandro Fiorino, Program Lead and Rugby Canada Sr. Women’s Head Coach 15s.  “Going into our fourth year of the academy, we continue to build a system that develops and prepares players to advance through our pathway.” 

Since its inception in 2017, the RCDA has graduated notable alumni such as Asia Rochester – Hogan (National Sr. Women’s 7s Team PAN AM Medalist), Taylor Black (National Sr. Women’s 15s Team), Lizzie Gibson (Maple Leafs) and Chloe Daniels (Maple Leafs). “As a provincial sport organization, it's very exciting to see true alignment in development pathways between School, Club, Province and Country” said Paul Connelly, Rugby Ontario High Performance Manager. “The utilization of Ontario High Performance Sport Initiative funding to drive programming not only at CSIO, but also at satellite programs across the province, has created a larger talent pool of athletes who possess the skills necessary for Canada to be successful on the international stage.” 

Overall, the 52 athletes selected for this year’s program represent 21 different clubs across Ontario. These players will engage in weekly training sessions at their respective centres where core skill development and strength and conditioning will be the primary focus. In addition to in person services, players will also utilize online learning to supplement development in all key areas including technical/tactical development, S&C, mental performance, and diet/nutrition. 

Rugby Ontario and Rugby Canada would like to thank the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario, Own the Podium, and the Ontario government for their continued investment and support of the RCDA program.


Paige Bean | Ottawa Ospreys

Rachel Cullum | Bytown Blues

Emilie Ethier | Ottawa Ospreys

Marthe Laplante Brady | Kingston Panthers

Olivia Mudde| Kingston Panthers

Sarah Schonfeld| Bytown Blues

Ayden Thompson | Barrhaven Scottish


Emma Arseneau | Stouffville HS

Maya Austin | Oshawa Vikings

Kalah Brereton | Oshawa Vikings

Emily Butterworth | Aurora Barbarians

Olivia Davis | Ajax Wanderers

Paige DeNeve | Oshawa Vikings

Maddy Donnelly | Lindsay RFC

Ryan Fitzgerald | Belleville Bulldogs

Sarah Harington | Crusaders RFC

Moriah Hutchings | Aurora Barbarians

Kiki Idowu | Toronto Nomads

Lara Jorgenson | Aurora Barbarians

Kennedy Johnstone | Toronto City Youth

Eden Kilgour | Barrie RFC

Katlyn Lott | Belleville Bulldogs

Sara Luffman | Belleville Bulldogs

Kate McNaughton | Aurora Barbarians

Taylor McKnight | Aurora Barbarians

Reese Morgan | Aurora Barbarians

Guinevere O'Hara | Toronto City Youth

Kennedy Pryce | Balmy Beach

Riley Rewakoski | Oshawa Vikings

Aleisha Rose | Belleville Bulldogs

Victoria Stanley | Aurora Barbarians

Olivia Taylor | Ajax Wanderers

Madi Thompson | Oshawa Vikings

Reese Wakeford | Oshawa Vikings

Sierra Wood | Belleville Bulldogs

Halle Woodcock | Belleville Bulldogs

Sydney Woodcock | Belleville Bulldogs


Abby Auger | Guelph Rugby

Emily Cooper | Guelph Rugby

Grace Dale | North Halton

Kirsten Hahn | Canada Misfits RFC

Adelaide Holmes | Fergus Highlanders

Grace Jacklyn | Brantford Harlequins

Mikaela Mendoza | Brantford Harlequins

Taylor Pate | Brantford Harlequins

Emmie Pierce | Guelph Rugby

Madelyn Ryan | Brantford Harlequins

Vanessa Skypas | North Halton

Jordan Smith| Georgian Bay Titans

Kyla Twinem | Norfolk Harvesters

Olivia Van Wart| Brantford Harlequins

Annalise Wey | Brantford Harlequins

2020-2021 Rugby Canada Development Academy Staff

Program Staff

Sandro Fiorino - Program Lead

Kris Robertson - Strength & Conditioning Lead

Amy Stefaniuk - Athletic Therapist Lead

Dr. Sommer Christie - Mental Performance

Kevin Iwasa-Madge - Registered Dietitian

Paul Connelly - Rugby Ontario High Performance Manager

Sean Medeiros - Rugby Ontario High Performance Coordinator

Regional Staff

Colette McAuley - RCDA West Coach

Sonny Raina - RCDA East Coach

Ian Fitzgerald - Rugby Ontario West Coach

Jeremy Cairnie - Rugby Ontario Central Coach

Adam Blandford - Strength & Conditioning East Coach


The Ontario Blues program is the high performance representative program for male and female rugby players in Ontario. Rugby Ontario is represented at the provincial level by the Ontario Blues. The program includes representative teams from Under-15 to Senior in both Women’s and Men’s Fifteens and Under-18 Men's and Women's Sevens. Specifically, the program is designed to develop and showcase rugby players for Canadian representative national teams.


Rugby Ontario is the provincial sports governing body responsible for the organization of rugby in Ontario. Our mission is to establish a stronger identity for rugby in Ontario by promoting the sport’s core values and by fostering a culture of inclusiveness and excellence on and off the field of play.

To learn more, visit


Sandro Fiorino
Program Lead - Rugby Canada Development Academy


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